I, like many recently, am fixated on the words of Rachel Hollis in Girl, Wash Your Face. Have you read it? If you haven’t read it, let me recommend it (again!) If you have, you’ve maybe thought…is what she writing all that new? Don’t I already know this? And in some cases, yes, I know these lies already…but the fact that she writes it out for us, that she writes it out for you and for me, puts it on paper – it helps make it relevant today. She speaks to us, and she shares the same self-talk circling in our heads.
For most of the book, I nodded along, ready for the next chapter. Occasionally I blurted out a “yes!” while reminding myself where to refer back to and what action I would take. And then there were pages that hit me right upside the head where she put exactly the thoughts running through my mind much more poetically (and comically) than what I’ve been able to organize and share with others ever before – YES! Exactly, Rach!
In the chapter where she talks about managing stress, the phrase “embrace chaos” resonated like nothing ever before. Even as my brain was reading the next sentences where she recognizes that special needs parents get this, I was thinking, this is exactly how I explain it! Whenever people around me say “I don’t know how you…” I couldn’t do what you do…” my best response to that has become, you would do it, too.
But maybe my answer should be you ARE doing it! Or you COULD do it, you just have to stop believing that lie that some else is doing it better or is doing more than you. I’m not doing more, and I’m definitely not doing it better. My challenges may be more significant right now but that doesn’t make your challenges insignificant.
Allow yourself to do the same. Know that you are not in control of everything on your plate. As mom to my daughter with special needs and two other little ones, I’ve had to embrace that. If I didn’t I would legit be going crazy over here or be crying myself to sleep every night. If I let every seizure completely ruin my day or my week, every time we had to say no to something I may have said yes to before make me bitter or every hiccup in our routine change my attitude for the worse, I would be a pretty awful person to hang out with let me tell you.
We must know that in life we’re going to feel hurt and overwhelmed but we’re also going to feel happy and fulfilled…if we allow ourselves to, no matter the circumstances. If you give yourself grace, if you make a choice to look for the good but also allow yourself (momentarily) to wallow in the hard.
So embrace the chaos. When you yell at your kids, know you can do it differently next time and take time to reflect. When you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, figure out how to breathe and what you need so you can feel that joy. If you can’t escape it, embrace what you can or find something to change.
From crazy chaos like when my daughter is seizing and my baby is screaming at the top of her lungs because I all about dropped her to the floor when the seizure started, I admit it feels awful. But I’m doing what I must do in that chaotic moment.
When I have to send my oldest to a friend’s house or let her go watch a show instead of heading to the zoo as planned because her sister is screaming for unknown reasons, I apologize profusely but know deep down she understands and that she is going to grow up with such a compassionate and understanding heart.
To more regular daily chaos like when my middle daughter is in her positioning chair the majority of a day because baby girl doesn’t let me put her down, I’m getting all the regular stuff done or I’m taking some one-on-one time with my oldest, I know I’ll find another time to snuggle with her later.
I remember when cooking was enjoyable and quiet, and I started to get overwhelmed with the kids, thinking we just don’t have the time to prepare meals anymore. So instead of expecting what I used to, we cook together among the chaos in the kitchen with music turned on and impromptu dance parties to break up the reality of tripping over toys, multitasking to do feedings and meds or listening to someone whine about what’s for dinner … but we get it done and embrace the good as we can. Among the chaos, a quick spin around the island helps make it enjoyable again.
And the house isn’t organized like it used to be (not even close). We no longer really have a good cleaning schedule but we do clean up every day and get to bigger projects when we can. I also started giving more responsibility to my oldest and have her put away her own laundry now…and let me tell you, her clothes drawers are truly a disaster.
But that’s what you need to do. You need to prioritize…for the most part, our priorities are in order here nowadays. I’ve decided what to prioritize on that day, in that minute, and allow the chaos around me to be.
So friends, if something like messy drawers will legit send you over the edge, then either reconsider if you can let that go or take that on yourself and let go of something else. Embrace it, momma. You get to decide what that means for you. But it does mean letting go.
And you will. Just know you can’t have it all put together perfectly. Not if you also want to be happy. That’s the secret to happiness I’m learning, that’s the secret to having it all together. It’s about not having it all together and being okay with it.